A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Zootopia (Byron Howard and Rich Moore, 2016)

More evidence that this is a golden age for animation, especially with the perfecting of computer-animation techniques. But Zootopia's success lies as much in its story and its voice actors as in its technology. Actually, the success of the story is a bit of a surprise, considering that it was created by a committee and went through many alterations before settling on the central thread of a young rabbit, Judy Hopps (voice of Gennifer Goodwin), who wants to be a cop, and eventually teams up with a con-man fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mysterious disappearances of several residents of Zootopia, a place where predators and prey have learned to live together amicably. It seems that the disappeared were all predators who "turned feral" before they vanished. No fewer than seven credited writers -- and doubtless many more uncredited -- worked on the story before it was turned into a screenplay by Phil Johnston and Jared Bush (the latter also receives a credit as "co-director," whatever that means). Goodwin and Bateman are full of charm in their line delivery, and Idris Elba, as Judy's blustering and bellowing police chief, brings great energy to his role. Like so many recent computer-animated features, it is sometimes over-crowded with gags taking place on the periphery that it's possible to get a little distracted by them: a sure way of enticing people to watch the movie more than once.

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